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Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Event Planning: A Strategic Overview

By Michael Russell

Good planning and preparation is the key to any successful event. However, ensuring that you have attended to every detail can be exhausting and it is very easy to overlook something which may adversely affect your event outcome. Planning an event can be stressful at the best of times if you are not organised, but when we are talking about large scale events, like a wedding or business conference, it can become overwhelming. It is therefore essential that you, as the event organiser, have planned all the steps needed before embarking upon action. If unforeseen events occur, then the plan can be modified to take account of this. The point is, that you have thought about each step needed in the event planning process.

It is possible to hire professional services to plan events such as weddings and parties. If you are an extremely busy person and can afford it, than employing a professional may be the way to go. However, if the budget won't stretch or you would just like the challenge and satisfaction that comes with planning a successful event yourself, then there are some simple pieces of advice that you can follow to help you succeed.

Start by listing all the things that will need to be done to bring your event to fruition. It is a good idea to show the list to others to see if they can think of anything that you may have missed. It is vital that everything is written down. Any lists, plans, schedules, etc. should not remain in your head. The pressures of day to day life make this unreliable. They must be written down. Put the tasks on your list into a step by step plan. Schedule a date/time and deadline for each task and ensure that your overall timescale is realistic and will allow you time to seek alternative courses of action if needed. This is very important, as many people try to carry out their event plan in too short a timescale, leaving them no room to manoeuvre if things go wrong.

Keep tabs on your list and as each step is completed, check it off so you always know what has been done and what remains to be done. If the course of events dictate new or alternative actions, then add them to the list and your step by step plan. Always stay current with your master list/plan. This way you will remain in strategic control of your event planning. If you delegate a task, make sure that the person responsible is clear about what outcome is expected and has a deadline to work to. Ask them to inform you immediately if problems occur. It is probably a good idea also to check politely on progress from time to time, offering help if needed. Make sure that invitations are sent out in plenty of time for people to make their arrangements to attend. These days life is very busy and no event can be a success without guests.

Think carefully of the needs of your guests and how you will gather this information. Examples of things to consider are dietary needs and access facilities. Taking care of these at the planning stage will help your event to be a successful and enjoyable one.

Remember to build time into your event to socialise with your guests and enjoy the occasion. After all the hard work of event planning you will certainly deserve it! Planning an event can be demanding, but with careful planning and organisation it can be extremely satisfying. Knowing that a successful and enjoyable event is down to your efforts will make all the work time well spent.

For more information, visit the Event Planning Guide at

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